The new skateboard facility at Public Safety Memorial Park at the loop was already being heaped with praise, even before it officially opens May 6.
The skateboarding community, which for years had been itching for an accessible, dedicated facility in Mobile, have come out in droves to support it since construction on the main apparatus was completed late last month.
“It’s the only good thing Mobile has ever built,” 17-year-old Will Hannon said with a smile, as he waited in line to perform tricks last week. “It’s really awesome to have a place you can go that’s full of people who love doing what you love to do.”
As an example of his enthusiasm, Hannon explained that he had been coming to the park since it was completed and has spent as much time as he can there with his skateboard, including 12 hours on a Saturday and 12 hours on a Sunday.
“When I’m out here I can’t help but have a smile on my face,” he said.
Hannon said turnout at the park has been “insane” and would probably continue to grow.
The park was built by the city, but at least two local businesses pledged support as part of a public-private partnership with Foosackly’s across the street and Wooden Heart Skate Shop on the I-65 service road near Cottage Hill Road.
While the businesses have pledged support and may have even helped raise funds for the park, to date, city spokesman George Talbot said he isn’t sure if any private money has been spent at park.
“They’re not on the hook, but have indicated they’d help keep it up,” he said.
Construction of the skate park was $320,000, Talbot said, with design costing another $25,000.
Chris Puglisi, an assistant manager at Foosackly’s who worked at the store on Airport Boulevard across the street from the park for three and a half years, said he expects a mutually beneficial relationship.
“I’d love for us to be more involved down the road,” Puglisi said. “We could maybe sponsor a skate team, or help provide prizes for a contest. However we could help would be awesome.”
An official opening of the skate park is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Reggie Mose, a 20-year-old skater using the facility last weekend said the park is something needed in Mobile. Previously, Mose said he generally resorted to street skating and was often threatened by property owners.
Another skater, 18-year-old Austin Elks, said the park is much closer to his home in Saraland than other options in Bay Minette and Fairhope.
“From my house to here it’s 15 minutes,” he said.
Elks recently picked up skateboarding, but said he’s improved since being at the park among other skaters.
“It’s a great park,” he said. “We’re extremely blessed to have it.”
In addition to the skate park, a $16,000 donation from a loop-area resident helped improve the park’s playground and benches, Talbot said.